At 34 James Bannatyne is an experienced goalkeeper having been on the periphery of the New Zealand national team for nearly a decade. With Mark Paston and Glen Moss the incumbents on the scene for a number of years, opportunities have been limited and Bannatyne was somewhat of a surprise selection for the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009 squad having not played a full international since 2002.
Tall and well-built, Bannatyne commands his area and his experience in the game may have helped his selection ahead of New Zealand's goalkeepers who featured in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, including Jacob Spoonley who made one appearance in the All Whites 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifying campaign. Bannatyne though is likely sit behind Paston, the hero of the playoff win against Bahrain, and Australian-based Moss in the pecking order in South Africa.
Despite Bannatyne's longevity he has only rarely played professional football, having made limited appearances for the Football Kingz in the old Australian national league, and recently completed a full season between the sticks for Team Wellington in the domestic New Zealand league. Bannatyne famously made headlines for his club side in 2009 by scoring for Team Wellington with a free-kick from behind the halfway line.